Diabetes Today – The Facts & Figures You Should Know - Medshield Movement

Diabetes Today – The Facts & Figures You Should Know

It’s World Diabetes day on 14 November and this month we are shining a light on diabetes awareness as well as sharing information on how this disease can be prevented. 

Why World Diabetes Day?

World Diabetes Day (WDD) was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. 

Diabetes is a critical global health issue, says the IDF – an umbrella organisation of over 230 national diabetes associations in 170 countries and territories. It represents the interests of the growing number of people with diabetes and those at risk. 

<subhead> The Difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).  

Type-1 diabetes is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction. This reaction stops your body from making insulin. Approximately 5-10% of the people who have diabetes have type 1. It’s usually diagnosed in children, teens and young adults. If you have type 1 diabetes, you’ll need to take insulin every day to survive. Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes.

With Type-2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well and can’t keep blood sugar at normal levels. About 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2. It develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults. You may not notice symptoms, so it’s important to get your blood sugar tested if you’re at risk. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented with healthy lifestyle changes, such as: losing weight, eating healthy food and being active.

Diabetes By The Numbers


  • 537 million adults (1 in 10) were living with diabetes in 2021. This number is expected to rise to 643 million by 2030.
  • Almost 1 in 2 adults (44%) with diabetes remain undiagnosed (240 million). The majority have type-2 diabetes.
  • More than 3 in 4 people with diabetes live in low and middle-income countries.
  • More than 1.2-million children (0-19 years) live with type-1 diabetes.
  • Diabetes caused 6.7-million deaths in 2021.
  • Diabetes was responsible for at least $ 966 billion in health expenditure in 2021 – 9% of the global total spent on healthcare.

In South Africa: 

  • With 1 in 9 adults living with diabetes, South Africa has the highest diabetes prevalence in Africa.
  • Over 4 million adults in South Africa are affected by the condition.
  • Just under half of people living with diabetes in South Africa are undiagnosed.
  • One in three adults in South Africa is at high risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
  • An estimated 96 000 deaths were due to diabetes in South Africa in 2021.

If you are concerned that you or a family member may be at risk, speak to your medical advisor or healthcare professional for advice on life-changing preventative measures. 

Read this article on ways to prevent Diabetes. 

(*Data provided by the IDF.)

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